Tue, Jan 05, 2010 - Page 18 News List

Honors even in Old Firm, Edinburgh derbies

AFP , GLASGOW, SCOTLAND

Celtic’s Scott McDonald, center, heads the ball to score against Rangers during their “Old Firm” match at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Rangers retained their seven-point advantage at the top of the Scottish Premier League over Celtic as two late goals meant the Old Firm derby ended 1-1 at Parkhead on Sunday.

Super sub Scott McDonald looked to have sealed a well-­deserved win for Celtic when the Australian international headed past Allan McGregor with 11 minutes left.

However, Lee McCulloch nodded in the equalizer two minutes later with his side’s first shot on target before McGregor produced a superb save to deny Georgios Samaras a late winner.

“I am delighted to get a point, but overall we were a little bit fortunate,” Rangers manager Walter Smith said. “We didn’t play the way we have done in recent weeks and Celtic imposed themselves on the match.”

Celtic boss Tony Mowbray said he was disappointed his side had not won.

“I think we did enough to win and the performance of the team possibly warranted the three points,” Mowbray said. “The players will take great confidence from this game as they did from the first match at Ibrox.”

Celtic will rue a host of missed chances, including a first-half Marc-Antoine Fortune goal which was controversially ruled out for a foul on McGregor, as Celtic dominated the league leaders who looked a pale shadow of the side which had previously won six ­successive matches.

Smith was forced to make two changes to the side that put seven past Dundee United with Danny Wilson replacing Madjid Bougherra and Steven Whittaker in for the suspended Kenny Miller.

Rangers’ game plan was further disrupted when Nacho Novo was injured in an early collision with Samaras and limped off in the 12th minute and was replaced by Maurice Edu.

Aiden McGeady was causing all sorts of problems for Rangers down the left wing as the Ibrox side, who had scored 26 times in their previous six games, struggled to get out of their own half.

Celtic thought they had made the breakthrough in the 19th minute when they had the ball in the net.

McGeady’s miss-hit shot looked to be covered by McGregor but Fortune leapt above him to head the ball into the net.

However the home side were incensed when referee Steve Conroy controversially ruled it out for a foul after the striker appeared to make slight contact with the keeper.

Kyle Lafferty was lucky to stay on the pitch when he was booked on the half hour mark for a high and late challenge on Andreas Hinkel.

Danny Fox’s curling free-kick went straight to McGregor before Barry Robson rose unmarked in the box to meet Hinkel’s cross from the right and slam a header off the bar.

Five minutes from the break McGeady headed another Hinkel cross just wide before Samaras missed a golden chance to put Celtic ahead as Rangers somehow ended the half on level terms.

McDonald came on for Marc Crosas and the Australian made an immediate impact when he gave Celtic the lead in the 79th minute.

McGeady sent over a cross from the right and the Socceroos striker nodded past McGregor from a couple of yards out.

The lead was short-lived and incredibly Rangers equalized with their first shot on target.

McCulloch got in front of Gary Caldwell to meet a Steven Davis corner and send a downward header bouncing over Artur Boruc.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s Edinburgh derby between Hibernian and Hearts also ended in a 1-1 draw after both sides had a player sent off.

Eighteen-year-old Gordon Smith scored for Hearts on his league debut, but Anthony Stokes equalised for the hosts nine minutes after half-time.

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